3 Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly Without Compromising Curb Appeal

Green homes are appealing for their efficiency and low environmental impact, but while energy-saving improvements make a house more cost-effective to own, some can compromise a property’s appearance. Whether you are preparing a home for sale or looking for ways to save money and be kinder to Planet Earth, these three eco-friendly upgrades put more cash in your pocket without sacrificing valuable aesthetics.

Solar Panel Roofing Tiles

Solar Estimate explains that traditional solar panels look clunky and detract from the look of an otherwise high-end roof, but they also mean significant energy savings. If you live in an area where using sun power pays big, then consider installing solar panel roofing tiles instead. Also known as solar shingles, these small, low-profile units are made to look like asphalt tile, and once installed, they look like a conventional roof. Wires are hidden in the attic, and the effect is smooth and sleek.

The sole concern, for now, is the price. Solar shingles use thin-film technology that’s relatively new to the market, and their cost is higher than old-style panels. EnergySage explains, the good news is that shingles can cover more of a roof, offsetting the initial expense, and with an extension of the federal solar tax credit for 2019, now is an excellent time to consider an update.

Zero-Scaping

Zero-scaping, better known as xeriscaping, is a landscape design philosophy that emphasizes the use of plants and other features that require no irrigation. By using choices that are well-adapted to the native climate, it offers two distinct benefits. Chileno Bay Resort & Residences explains that plants thrive with minimal care and look their best with less intervention, and zero-scaping helps minimize water usage. If you have a home for sale, then it makes landscaping both environmentally friendly and less expensive to maintain.

Insulation

Proper insulation is key to controlling both heating and cooling bills, and as an investment, it has a low initial cost and virtually no impact on your home’s appearance. Start with extra layers in the attic and walls, and if your budget allows, consider replacing older windows with new, energy-efficient models.

Investing in your home’s energy efficiency pays off whether you plan to stay or are looking to sell, but you do not have to sacrifice its good looks to save money. Start with these three eco-friendly upgrades and watch the savings add up. Your checkbook and Mother Nature will thank you.

3 Beautiful Alternatives to Traditional Lawns

Don’t settle for the traditional landscaping options for your home. Instead, be brave and create a lovely landscape scene alternatively. Here are three ideas to kick start your landscaping creativity.

Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is a unique way to landscape your lawn. This type of landscaping works best if you live in a hot and dry climate. Xeriscaping focuses on planting plants that don’t require a lot of water, thereby drastically reducing the need for additional irrigation other than natural rainfall. The idea is to plant vegetation that thrives naturally in dry soil and rocky terrain. Sierra points out that you can plant beautiful plants of all sorts of size and color, such as succulents, and design a desert-looking landscape right in your own backyard.

Artificial Grass

Another alternative landscaping option is to install artificial grass on your lawn. According to Celebrity Greens, artificial grass can significantly ease the burden of lawn care, as well as aid in water conservation. There are advantages and disadvantages to the upkeep of an artificial grass lawn, but some people might rejoice to know that they don’t have to cut their grass every week. One disadvantage is that it is not pet-friendly. Pets tend to dig around in the grass, which will not be great for the life of your lawn. Advantages of an artificial lawn could include easy maintenance and no watering.

Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping seems odd for a yard, but that is not so. Edible Landscaping explains that you can plant herbs for cooking and medical use, grow vegetables for both the eyes and the mouth to feast upon, and trees that bear fruit. There are so many advantages to replacing your boring sod for a “food forest” of sorts.

The first would be solely for aesthetic looks, as well as beautiful smells you will encounter as you spend time in your yard. The second is that you can make money off of your edible landscape by selling your herbs and produce to kitchens or at a farmer’s market. You can also feed your own family and educate them on plants as you spend time with them in your edible landscape.

Choosing to forego the traditional yard landscaping is a bold task, but that is not to say it isn’t a noble one. There are so many alternatives to the old sod and rock landscape designs, and most are pretty unique! Try xeriscaping for water conservation, install artificial grass for low maintenance, or create an edible landscape to nurture your creativity and love for food. Whatever type of landscape you choose, have fun designing it and don’t forget to spend time in your work of art.

If you’re planning on undergoing any major exterior renovations, make sure you update the color of your home! Our exterior painting services will help you create the first impression you want to.

4 Landscaping Solutions to Give You Additional Privacy in Your Yard

If you are tired of your nosy neighbors always knowing what you are doing at your place, then it is time to create some more privacy. You have several options when doing this, so spend some time deciding which option is right for you.

Add Some Spartan Junipers

A spartan juniper grows quickly until it reaches 12 feet to 15 feet in the air. When you plant these plants about three feet apart, they make a great privacy fence as their limbs tightly intertwine. These junipers grow well in the United States Department of Agriculture four to nine climates. While they prefer full shade, spartan junipers will tolerate some shade.

Install a Wood or Vinyl Fence

A wood or vinyl fence is a great solution when you need to block your neighbor’s view. Just be sure to survey your property before you put in the fence. If you mismeasure, you could end up installing your fence on your neighbor’s property. This can send you to court or could mean you need to rebuild the fence. While you can install a wood fence for about $10 a foot for materials and $21 a foot for vinyl fencing materials, unless you are a craftsman, you will also need to pay a professional for installing a fence.

Use Rock

You can also build fences out of rock. These walls are usually incredibly sturdy. The cost of building a rock fence often varies widely depending on the type of rock that you decide to use and its source. Some people even gather rocks out of a pasture and build their own walls. It is possible to put up a rock wall without using any mortar; however, using it to hold the rocks in place is much more common. You can even construct rock walls with fireplaces built into them. One of the hottest trends right now is to use Gabrion fencing.

Think About Chain Link

Chain link fencing is a popular option. It, however, may not do much to block your neighbor’s view unless you use climbing plants to grow up the fence. These fences are great for security as it is easy to install a locking gate. They are also usually very low maintenance.

Blocking the noisy neighbor’s view with a fence is a great way to create more privacy in your landscaping. You have several different choices in the materials that you choose to use. Consider which one fits your situation the best. Depending on the type of fence you choose, you may even be able to install it yourself.

For all external remodeling efforts, Jaworski Painting is here to help!

3 Tips for Upgrading the Look of Your Kitchen

For decades, it has generally been accepted that when you remodel your house, you can expect to get back at resale at least as much money as you put in for kitchen and bathroom upgrades. There is no need to wait until you are getting ready to sell to improve your kitchen. If you make some upgrades now, you can enjoy the benefits of the improvements yourself.

Replace the Cabinets

Without changing the layout or footprint of your kitchen, you can improve the look and feel of the room by upgrading the cabinets. If you are like most people, your kitchen cabinets get a workout every day. Family members are continuously opening the doors to get glasses, dishes, food and cooking utensils. Over time, the cabinets and especially their doors begin to show wear. New cabinets constructed of the latest in natural or synthetic materials will give your kitchen a facelift. Cabinet Joint recommends, in addition to replacing existing cabinets, look around and figure out some places in your kitchen that would benefit from an additional cabinet or shelf. It’s always helpful to have a little more storage space.

Display Personal Collections

Your kitchen is a very practical room. It is designed for storage, food preparation, and cleaning dishes, pots and pans. Another truth is that you spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Display collectibles you have collected over the years, and let the kitchen reveal more of your personality. All Storage Online suggests that if you have extra space above your kitchen cabinets, you should consider putting some of your collectibles there; a collection of pottery can look great high up there, and it will be out of reach of cooking oils or water splashed from the sink. Baskets and candles placed on shelves and in shadow boxes will also help to make the kitchen more personable. You might want to consider decorations that you change out each season to help keep your kitchen’s look fresh.

Add Crown Molding

An inexpensive way to enhance the look of any kitchen is to attach crown molding to the top of the cabinets. The molding does not add to the functionality of the cabinets, but it gives the cabinets a finished, richer look with character. As Mahogany Inc explains, crown molding not only enhances the aesthetic beauty of a house or home, but it increases its value. Crown molding is coming back into popularity in a big way. The molding can match the color of the cabinets, or for a bolder look, the molding can contrast with the cabinet color.

Get more enjoyment out of your kitchen with new or enhanced cabinets. Displays of personal items express who you are and enhance the heart of the home.

For all your interior needs, whether it’s painting, cabinet painting and refinishing, epoxy floor coating, wallpaper removal, drywall repair and more, hire Jaworski Painting.

Winterize Your Florida Home with These Simple Steps!

Winter is here. While winters are fairly mild in Florida compared to other parts of the country, that does not mean preparations are not needed. The time to begin those preparations is now.

Protect Pipes

This first preparation may seem unnecessary when prepping for winter in Florida; however, there are winter storms in the region that can damage pipes if they’re not properly protected. The pipes in Florida are often not well-insulated, and they’re buried not far from the surface of the ground. These facts make the pipes susceptible to damage when temperatures reach freezing.

Protect the Roof

Take some time to make sure gutters are free of debris, such as leaves, branches and other small particles. Also, make sure tree branches are trimmed far enough away from the roof so as not to cause damage if heavy winds arrive. These precautions are wise throughout the year, but they become even more critical during the winter.

Seal Your Home’s Exterior

All leaks and cracks around doors and windows should be sealed. You should also check for any other locations where cold air can enter and warm air can escape. This precaution will save money on your energy bills during winter months. Sealing entryways can increase savings by 5 to 30 percent.

Check Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms should be inspected to be sure they are operational. This includes making sure batteries are present and charged. Smoke alarms should be checked every six months. It should be noted that the majority of house fires happen in the winter months.

Change Air Filters 

Air filters should be inspected and changed if needed. Clean air filters are necessary during the winter months to ensure air quality and make sure it flows throughout the home.

Cover the Pool

If you own a pool or hot tub, then it’s important that you take steps to winterize your pool. Part of that process is storing pool accessories and tools in a dry and secure location. You should also cover the pool to keep out potential debris and carefully monitor the water chemistry to prevent freezing. These steps will ensure that your pool will be ready to use when the weather warms up.

Check Attic Insulation

Your attic’s insulation should be no less than 12 inches deep. Ducts should be vacuumed so that air quality in the house can be maintained. These two steps can be a slight inconvenience. However, the savings you will realize on your monthly energy bills make them well worth your time.

Store Any Boats

Additionally, though again, winters in Florida tend to be mild, you might not be using your boat during that time. In that case, you will want to prepare and store it correctly for disuse. This means cleaning the boat, repairing any damages, store anything that is lying about the boat, drain all fluid, but fill the gas tank and antifreeze, among other things. Since boats can be a common thing in parts of Florida to own, see if you might have any friends or acquaintances to see if they can help you with your preparation.

Final Thoughts

Winters in Florida are not nearly as harsh as winters in many other parts of the country. Floridians should not interpret this as a reason not to make preparations for the winter months. Properly preparing your home for winter will protect it from any potential damage from storms. You will also save money on winter energy bills.

References:

Should I Refinance My Home to Afford a Remodel?

If you have owned your home for several years, chances are that you may be considering remodeling your house. Depending on the scope of the work, renovating one or more rooms could be costly. However, many homeowners take out a home equity line of credit or refinance their mortgages in order to cover the cost of remodeling supplies and the labor. In making the decision, it is important to weigh the pros and cons to ensure the best financial outcome for your situation.

Home Equity

Before refinancing your property, find out how much equity it currently has. If you recently purchased it, the home may not have enough equity yet to be worth a mortgage refinance. If it does, however, ask about interest rates and loan terms to determine if this route will work with your repayment capabilities. A new mortgage loan, which may be able to accommodate the costs associated with remodeling the house, will likely come with application fees and settlement costs. Compare interest rates and loan terms to see if this option fits with your monthly budget.

Source: How Do I Know How Much Equity I Have in My Home?

How Long You Plan to Live There

Another consideration for refinancing your property to afford remodeling costs is how long you expect to keep the home. Since a new mortgage loan may extend the original loan period by several years, you might not be able to pay off the remodeling investment if you sell the property within the foreseeable future. This move could then cost you money by reducing profit due to added fees when you sell your home. If moving is a consideration for the near future, don’t refinance the mortgage before selling the home.

Source: When to Refinance Your Mortgage

Renovation Value Added

Assess the value that the remodeling improvements will add to your home. If the increase is negligible in terms of market value and you plan to sell the property within five years or so, you might want to wait on the remodeling. Otherwise, refinancing to a new mortgage means that you will be paying more interest up front along with refinance or loan fees, so by the time you sell the house, you would earn less profit than if you didn’t do the remodeling. Check with a local homeowners’ guide or a realtor to find out whether your proposed remodeling plans will be worth the investment. If you really want to add certain renovations but you’re not sure about refinancing or your future at that home, you can also look to installment loans or personal loans to help cover the costs. There are also home improvement loans, but what type of loan you will be able to get will depend on your personal circumstances.

Source: Just What Is an Installment Loan?

Remodeling a home can add thousands to its value. However, be sure to consider all your options as refinancing can add upfront fees that reduce profit if you sell soon after the remodel.

Jaworski Painting is committed to providing quality painting, from interior and exterior custom painting, to kitchen cabinet refinishing, to more general restoration. If you want to freshen up your house with a new remodel, contact Jaworski Painting for a free estimate!

Things You Should Know Before Building a Custom House

Building a custom home is a balancing act between your perfect vision and the realities of home construction. Your budget, area legal requirements and the laws of physics all play a part in custom home design and construction. If you’re considering building a custom home, there are a few facts you need to know.

Red Tape

Building a home may mean wading through a sea of red tape. Your home’s design and construction will need to conform to national and local building codes. Even after ticking all these boxes, the home will still need the proper permits and inspections. Your contractor should understand the legal processes and help you through them, but you’ll need to get involved with the paperwork to some extent.

Juggling the Finances

Normally, when people decide they want to buy a home, they usually find a mortgage loan after they find a home they enjoy and can afford. When you build your own custom home, it’s going to be slightly different. Securing the financing to build your home often requires two loans. Mortgages and construction loans are two very different animals. Unless you’ve stuffed your mattress with cash, you’ll likely need to get a mortgage to buy the land and a construction loan to build on it. Budget carefully so you can comfortably pay both. Unfortunately, since interest rates are the cost of getting a loan, you’ll likely have to juggle two differing interest rates, this means you’ll have to be sure you can pay for both of them in the long run, and keep an eye on any opportunity that comes up to lower those interest rates as much as you can in the future.

Related: Home Building Costs That May Surprise You | Stonegate Custom Homes

Practical Planning

Yes, a crystal chandelier would look stunning hanging in the foyer, but do you really live a crystal chandelier life? Do you really want a foyer at all? Adding custom features to enhance the way you live makes sense. Install a pet shower in the mudroom if you enjoy muddy outdoor activities with your dog and spring for the double oven if you’re an avid baker. Not every feature that you daydream about will fit your actual life, however. Impractical customizations do nothing except inflate your budget. Choose to figure out whether you need a double vanity in your master bedroom, or if you want a backyard before tackling these big-ticket ideas. Maybe consider where you put your kitchen or other high traffic rooms and if it makes sense.

Related: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home | Fresh Home

Note the Neighborhood

Resale value matters. You may plan to build a custom home and live in it for the rest of your days, but life doesn’t always follow the plan. If you bought a piece of land to build on, look around at other houses in the area. If you make your house too fancy for the neighborhood, the price may climb too high for the area and make selling the home difficult. Skimping on expected local features can also make resale harder.

Related: What You Need to Know Before Building a Home | The Nest

These tips are all important, but the best advice to heed when building a home is to expect problems. In the end, you and your builder will work through or around any problems that creep up. Building a house from the ground up requires hundreds of details coming together. Even if you planned the project meticulously, something may still go wrong. Accepting this before the project begins will keep your stress level down during the build and let you enjoy the process.

Modern Kitchen Design Trends for Environmentally Conscious Homeowners

The kitchen is known as the most important room of the home, and is where most residents spend a significant amount of time throughout the week. More homeowners are looking to have trendy settings but also want to reduce their carbon footprints. Here are a few of the latest kitchen design trends that are environmentally friendly and will create a beautiful interior setting.

Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops are a growing trend due to their affordability and sustainability.

The material adds an industrial look to kitchens and is incredibly durable to ensure that the countertops uphold their appeal in the coming years. The neutral color of the concrete also allows it to complement different styles of homes.

Reference: Stonecrete Systems Concrete | Concrete Countertops vs Marble Countertops

Cork Floors

When you want to update your flooring material in the kitchen, consider installing cork, which is a renewable resource that is made from the barks of trees. Many homeowners favor the material because it absorbs sound and is also resilient to mildew or mold, which can reduce the risk of damage if flooding occurs in the building. The material also doesn’t contain any toxins that are often present in manufactured floors, which can create a more habitable setting that is safer to spend time in each day.

Reference: Lumber Liquidators | Flooring 101 – Cork Underlayment

Convection Ovens

Convection ovens are increasing in popularity because they can cut down on your cooking time, which means you’ll end up using less energy each time that you prepare meals in the kitchen. Convection ovens are known to cook food 25 times faster than traditional ovens, which can save time and money. The food cooks at low temperatures and doesn’t shrink, which can also increase the quality of the dishes that you prepare. Convection ovens also have sleek exteriors that can make your kitchen appear contemporary and modern.

Recycled-Wood Cabinets

Cabinets are one of the main features of kitchens that use significant amounts of materials when they’re constructed. Opt for recycled-wood cabinets, which can reduce your impact on the earth, and they can also cost less than cabinets made from nonrecycled wood. The imperfections in the reclaimed wood can allow your kitchen to have extra character and appeal, working as the main focal point in the room.

Reference: Elemental Green | An Eco-Spin on Today’s Top 10 Kitchen Trends

You don’t have to compromise on style or design in your kitchen when you want to be conscious of the environment. With the right materials used, you can create a stunning setting that has a high level of appeal and makes you feel at home.

We get that your home is important. It’s part of who you are, your family’s history, a huge part of your life. We are the painting contractor team you can trust to transform it into something beyond even your wildest dreams.  Painting, cabinet refinishing, designing, restoration and more.

5 Projects that Will Add Permanent Value to Your House

While many trendy projects will temporarily make your home more appealing to buyers, very few add permanent value. If you want to boost the value and function of a house for many years to come, then you need to start thinking about some bigger renovations. Here is a look at five upgrades that are sure to increase the resale value of your home.

Install an In-Ground Pool

Depending on where you live and the state of your neighborhood, an in-ground pool could potentially increase the value of your property by thousands, according to Home Light. As a general rule, a pool will boost your property value if you live in a nice neighborhood that has great pool weather. For example, a home with a pool will be more valuable in Arizona than it would be in Oregon or Maine. If you want the pool to last, then you should consider lining it with cement instead of fiberglass. Before installing a pool, however, you might may want to consider how it is going to impact your insurance premiums and property taxes.

Turn the Basement into a Living Space

Finishing a basement is another great way to permanently increase your home’s resale value. Unless you have quite a bit of experience working on homes, you might want to leave at least a few aspects of this project to the professionals. You will most likely need to add extra insulation to the walls, install new flooring, and run electrical wires to new outlets. Installing new safety devices should be a priority as well. That includes radon detectors, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers.

Install a New Roof

A modern roof could boost the value of your property for 40 years or longer — depending on what materials are used. Traditional asphalt shingles are usually the most affordable option, but they rarely last for more than a decade or two. If you want a long-term investment, then you should install clay or slate tiles. With the proper maintenance, those materials will last for up to 60 years.

Invest in Solar Panels

High-efficiency homes are more popular than ever, and most homeowners will benefit from adding at least a few “green” systems to their property. Solar panels are a relatively large investment, but they could increase the value of your home by tens of thousands of dollars. After installing those panels, you might also receive state and federal tax credits. As an added bonus, the panels will also lower your energy bills while you are still living there.

Updating the Exterior

You can update the exterior walls of your home to fit with a more modern theme. M&M Home Exteriors suggest using verticle siding in order to achieve a more contemporary look. If you prefer to go in a different direction than changing your siding, you can always repaint the outside of your house. Updating your exterior will bring a fresh, attractive look to your home which adds value and curb appeal if you ever need to sell it in the future.

Refinish Your Cabinetry

Nice-looking cabinets are always a selling point for a home. After all, they have the ability to make or break a kitchen’s aesthetic. And when you choose a timeless finish and take good care of them, cabinetry can last decades. Of course, replacing a kitchen full of cabinets can be prohibitively expensive, which is why many turn to refinishing to get a more updated style without breaking the bank.

Before carrying out any major renovations, you must first think about how long you plan on living in your home. Some of these upgrades won’t pay for themselves for at least a few years, and you might lose money if you plan on moving in the near future.

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How to Reinvent Your Home On a Budget

If you are ready to see a major change in your home’s décor and curb appeal, you are not alone. You may think that you would need to have a huge home renovation budget to achieve the desired results, but this may not actually be true. There is often a less expensive way to achieve the same overall look or effect. Here are some examples of projects that you may be able to complete on a dime with a little extra effort.

Update the Landscaping

You could pay a huge fee to a landscaping company to revamp your home’s curb appeal, but this is not necessary. With your own effort, you can save a fortune on labor expenses. In addition, you can complete the work in stages as funds are available. Little things, like planting new flowers, edging your lawn, or adding small decorative items, are just a few of many budget-friendly ideas to bring new life to your drab landscape. It may take you several months or longer to accomplish your goal, but you will nonetheless generate the curb appeal that you desire over time.

Upgrade Molding and Trim

If your home’s interior is lackluster, consider upgrading the molding and trim. Some homes were built with very thin and non-decorative trim. They may not have any crown molding, and the windowsills may even be dull. Properly installing trim is a skill that is easily learned, and it can have a profound impact on home décor. There are numerous trim and molding styles available that you can choose from that can impact the home’s décor in wonderful ways.

Reface the Cabinets

Another easy change you can make that makes a big difference is to reface the cabinets in your kitchen. This is a cost-saving alternative to replacing the entire set of cabinets, and it can breathe fresh life into your space.  Keep in mind that renovating the entire kitchen may be a possibility as well. When renovating, remember to store valuables away from the scene, since painting can get a bit messy. You should store these items in the correct type of storage and keep it off of any floors, as the items could be subject to heat, cold, pests, or moisture if not placed somewhere safe.

Get a Loan

If the project you are hoping to accomplish costs a little more than you can afford at the moment, you may consider getting a loan. If you’ve built up equity in your home, you may be able to use it through your bank to get a home equity loan. For example, if you are a military veteran, there are several VA home loan options to help complete your project. Make sure to shop around for the lowest rates; this will make sure you stay within your monthly budget and still increase the curb appeal, and property value, of your home.

When you start to feel the itch for a new look, you don’t need to shell out a ton of cash for a full-scale renovation. With a little bit of creativity and strategy, you can achieve professional results with relatively little output. After all, why spend more money than you need to?